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Zoo Atlanta Mourns Loss of Beloved Red Panda Idgie

Zoo Atlanta is saddened to share the news that Idgie, the red panda at Zoo Atlanta, has died. The Animal Care Teams had been closely monitoring Idgie, who at nearly 14 years old was considered a geriatric animal, for recent medical concerns. Due to her continued decline in health and poor response to treatments, the team made the difficult decision to euthanize her in the evening of April 2.

Idgie, who arrived in Atlanta in 2013, was one of the most popular members of the animal population at Zoo Atlanta. Red pandas are a solitary species, and Idgie was no exception, preferring her own space and her own terms, and exhibiting a saucy, independent personality that endeared her to her care team. As Idgie entered her golden years and began showing signs of mobility issues, her habitat was entirely remodeled so that she could continue to comfortably enjoy her species’ arboreal lifestyle.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for Idgie’s care team and for the many Members, guests and social media followers who looked so forward to seeing her and who learned more about and came to support the conservation of red pandas because of her,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Deputy Director. “What she lacked in size she made up for in great charisma, and she was a wonderful ambassador for her species.”

Despite a few shared adaptations such as pseudothumbs for grasping a diet made up mostly of bamboo, red pandas are not closely related to giant pandas. The species, which is native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, northeastern India and southern China, is classified as Endangered by the Institute for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Primary threats include habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation from deforestation. Zoo Atlanta supports the Red Panda Network in a conservation initiative to restore red panda habitat in western Nepal through the Zoo’s Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund.

A necropsy, or the non-human equivalent of an autopsy, will be performed through the Zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Results should be available in several weeks.

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